A little touch of New York City, right here in the little smoke.
Imogen Rabbite as Sleeping Beauty, Cassie Skinner as Snow White and Georgia McGivern as Cinderella. Photo: Michael McAllan.
Disenchanted! is the big little musical that for the last five years has been packing punches around the world. Originally an Off-Broadway production, Disenchanted! has won numerous awards – including Best New Musical from the Off-Broadway Alliance – and been translated into French, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin and Danish.
The show is exactly what is says on the tin: an all-star princess revue that turns tradition on its head and tells it like it really is – straight from the princesses’ bolshy and usually potty mouths. It blows holes through the princess myths and pokes meaningful fun at the commercialisation and monetisation of Disney and the second-tier princesses it portrayed for so many years. This makes for a production with mass appeal: whether you’re a Disney devotee, aged divorcee or anything in between, there are things you are going to fall in love with in this show.
Some of your favourite princesses tear off their metaphorical girdles and stage a revolution, showing us mere mortals how happily ever after and over-drawn inflated mammary glands can be a royal pain in the ass. One by one, the princesses strut their grievances in really witty songs that put a whole new spin on both the fairy tale and the characters within.
There’s a Captain Morgan-swigging Little Mermaid who looks like she walked her ‘two legs too many’ straight from a trailer park, a straight-jacketed Belle, a sexually open Mulan, and Cinderella, Snow White, Pocahontas and the rest of the cast all reveal the hilarious trials and tribulations of princess life.
It’s a clever concept, and Great Lantern Productions have done well to license this little cracker and bring it to the shores of the West for the first time.
The fantastic ensemble cast each have ample opportunities to shine brightly throughout the show. There is no weak link and each leading lady wielded hearty laughter from the audience.
Having the live band side of stage (as with the original Off-Broadway production) is a superb idea as it really brought the show to life, and of course allowed fun interaction between the characters and band members when called for. Led by musical director Maddison Moulin on piano, with Suresh Manievannan on bass and Andrew Ovens on drums, they did a fabulous job of increasing the atmosphere and liveliness.
There were a few rough edges and lapses in comic timing on occasion, but for a relatively young cast and production, and the sheer wordiness of the lyrics, this could be easily overlooked.
The only thing that grated for the entire show was the costumes. I know that money is tight in the arts world, but quality costumes, fits and wigs would have elevated this production to 5 stars. Princess outfits are a dime a dozen, but theatre costumes should go above and beyond to lift the experience even further. As lewd and bawdy as the songs may be, when delivered with the visual reinforcement of damn fine costumes and accoutrement, the meaning is inflated even further. Especially if one whole song is devoted to giant mammary glands, the said glands should be enhanced and supported in banging brassieres!
Disenchanted! is to Disney fans what Spinal Tap is to rock fans. This is not how the princesses were written, this is feminism at its finest and these posturing princesses are here to tell you how it really is. It’s cray-cray, fun and downright clever and it’s on for one more weekend – hopefully with many larger, longer and better costumed runs in the future.
4.5 stars out of 5 ★★★★☆
Presented by Grey Lantern Productions
Cast: Cassie Skinner (Snow White), Jess Lally (The Little Mermaid and Rapunzel), Georgia McGivern (Cinderella), Andrea Lim (Mulan), Delicia Cooper (The Princess that Kissed a Frog), Imogen Rabbite (Sleeping Beauty), Sharon Kiely (Belle) and Therese Cruise (Princess Badroulbadour and Pocahontas)
10-19 October 2019
Subiaco Arts Centre WA